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Meet the 2021 Nominees for American Heart Association’s Woman of Impact Award

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Each nominee for the American Heart Association Woman of Impact Award exhibits passion, dedication and drive to make a difference. This year’s nominees will work with their individual teams to set a goal and raise funds that will have a direct impact on our community. The campaign lasts a total of eight weeks. At the end of the final week, these women will be celebrated for all the work they’ve done for our mission. The woman whose network achieved the greatest impact will be named the first Austin Woman of Impact award winner.

Bennett Maggio
Abbott

Bennett-Maggio-Abbott
Photo courtesy of American Heart Association

Heart disease has had a profound impact on my life. In 2008, the day before spring semester classes began my freshman year at college, my father suffered a massive heart attack and died. He was 51. Soon after my father’s death, I began to reevaluate my health and lifestyle choices hoping that, even as a young and healthy college student, I could begin my own fight against heart disease. Exercise, a thoughtful approach to nutrition and even training for a few half-marathons have since been part of my fight against the #1 killer of women: heart disease.

CaLondra Yarbrough
Workplace Resource

CoLondra-Yarbrough-Workplace-Resource
Photo courtesy of American Heart Association

Originally from Colorado, I relocated to Austin in 2010 to escape the snow and have called Austin home ever since. I am passionate about volunteering and giving back and enjoy connecting with people and organizations to learn more about how to support the Austin community. As a Black woman it is extremely important for me to raise awareness about the effects of heart disease and to do what I can to encourage other Black women, especially the millennial generation, to prioritize our health and make choices that benefit our well-being.

Katie Stewart
DPR Construction

Katie-Stewart-DPR-Construction
Photo courtesy of American Heart Association

I’ve always been a proponent of a healthy, active and balanced lifestyle. I try to lead by example as one DPR Construction’swellness champions and as a volunteer pacer for the Austin Marathon. But when I learned that 80% of heart health issues are preventable, I knew I had to do more. Eighty percent of women could significantly reduce their risk of heart disease by learning about specific risk factors. I jumped at the opportunity to participate in the 2021 Go Red for Women Austin Woman of impact Campaign to do my part in helping women prevent heart disease so they may live long, healthy, happy lives.

Megan Drake
Heart Hospital of Austin

Megan-Drake-Heart-of-Hospital-of-Austin
Photo courtesy of American Heart Association

Like so many people, heart disease impacts those you love and are close to. I have a significant family history of heart conditions, including those in my immediate family. I have been exposed to heart disease not only in my personal life, but professionally as well. My career has been dedicated to serving the people and communities in which I have been a part of through laser-focused attention to high-quality care, safety, performance excellence and organizational advancement. There are so many people who are fighting for their lives with this disease. I do this for each and every single one of them.

Nella Rodriguez
Higginbotham

Nella-Rodriguez-higginbotham
Photo courtesy of American Heart Association

I was born in Lima, Peru, but moved to Houston, Texas, at seven years old. After graduating with my business management degree with the intent to empower and develop future leaders, I joined the insurance industry in 2016. Aside from coverage analyses and renewal terms negotiations, I love to salsa dance. Although my ladies salsa team is on pause, I have continued to take online classes from professional dancers all over the world. It’s a great way to de-stress, stay active and stay healthy!

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